UAS Loss of Link Procedure Evaluation Methodology The MITRE Corporation
George Mason University

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are aircraft systems that are remotely piloted from ground stations via a real-time command and control (C2) data link. If the link between the ground station and UAS is lost, the Unmanned Aircraft (UA) utilizes pre-programmed contingency procedures until the link is re-established or the UAS ends the flight in a safe manner. Currently the various UAS manufacturers and operators utilize different procedures when the C2 link is lost, which reduces predictability of the UA's flight for Air Traffic Control (ATC).

Having standardized procedures for UAS during loss of link situations would increase the predictability of UA behavior for ATC, making these events easier to handle. Standardized procedures could also assist in integrating UAS into non-segregated civil airspace in greater numbers.

To aid in the standardization of UAS loss of link procedures, the UAS Loss of Link (UL2) team's sponsor desired metrics and a methodology to evaluate the viability of various proposed contingency procedures from an ATC perspective. The sponsor desired a low-fidelity capability that could be executed quickly to support community efforts to develop standardized procedures.


The MITRE Corporation is a not-for-profit organization that manages Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), one of which is the Center for Advanced Aviation System Development, which supported this project. The sponsor for the project was Andrew Lacher, the UAS Cross-Center Coordinator and Research Strategist at The MITRE Corporation.

This work was done as a graduate project for the Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University.

© 2012-2018 UAS Loss of Link (UL2) Team